Egypt has agreed to allow direct flights between Yemen’s Sanaa and Cairo as part of the UN-brokered truce between Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the Houthi-led National Salvation Government (NSG) based in the capital.
It follows the first commercial flight in six years from Sanaa International Airport last week to Amman, Jordan.
“We express our deep thanks to the brotherly Egyptian government… for agreeing to operate direct flights between Sanaa and Cairo in accordance with the armistice agreement,” Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Bin Mubarak wrote on Twitter yesterday.
“The competent authorities in the two countries will work in the coming days to coordinate and complete the technical procedures for operating the flights,” he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to express his “sincere thanks… for allowing direct flights between Cairo and Sanaa within the framework of the UN armistice in Yemen,” according to a statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry.
As with the flight to Amman, patients in urgent need of medical attention are expected to be on board the flight among the Yemeni passengers. Baligh Al-Mekhlafi, the information counsellor at the Yemeni embassy in Cairo, told Arab News that thousands of Yemenis, mainly patients, will benefit from the resumption of flights, especially as Egypt is a top destination for Yemenis.
The fragile two-month truce came into effect on 2 April, coinciding with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and was the first nationwide ceasefire to take place in six years.
Yesterday a senior official in the Sanaa government told the Houthi-affiliated Al-Masirah TV that any extension of the truce depends on the continuation of aggression by the Saudi-led coalition. Deputy Prime Minister Jalal Al-Ruwaishan said: “The National Salvation Government does not have to extend the truce as long as the suffering of the people continues.”
“Talking about the truce, what had been implemented is nothing and the US-Saudi aggression was not keen to abide by what was agreed to in the terms of truce,” he added.